A case of alleged sexual harassment of an Indian medical student by a senior teacher has rocked the Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Nepal's first private medical college located in Pokhara.
The incident took place on May 4, when the teacher with the anatomy department allegedly molested the second year student, a 19-year-old from New Delhi, on pretext of helping her improve her grades.
This is the second such case in the college set up in 1994 by the Manipal Group, one of India's biggest education service providers. A senior teacher was expelled some years ago on similar charges.
While the scared student has returned to Delhi, an internal inquiry absolved the teacher of any misconduct. Despite repeated attempts, the teacher didn’t respond to calls to give his version of events.
The student alleges the teacher called her to his office to inquire about low marks in tests. When she said she was unwell, he allegedly held her arm, asked about her periods, pressed her breasts and assured to "explain everything" if she goes to his room for 2-3 "sittings".
"I was shocked and very scared and didn't know what to do," the student told HT. Her mother and brother reached Pokhara the next day and lodged a complaint with the college and police.
When they confronted the teacher, he denied any wrongdoing and filed a police case alleging physical assault by the student and her family.
Another case was filed against them by a separate teacher for allegedly assaulting him when he prevented the student's brother from entering the hostel to help his sister collect her books.
The family was taken to the police station and let off late on May 5 evening. They returned to Delhi the next day via Kathmandu.
"There's no substance to the allegations. She's a weak student and the teacher was trying to help. If patting a student amounts to sexual harassment, I have nothing to say," said Dr BM Nagpal, Dean, MCOMS, Pokhara.
He informed that the college is ready to face any external probe into the incident. The MCOMS authorities have decided to suspend the student for allegedly assaulting teachers.